Thunder Pack Is A Bolt Of Lightning For Wearables

Do you need portable power that packs a punch? Sure you do, especially if you want to light up the night by mummifying yourself with a ton of LED strips. You aren’t limited to that, of course, but it’s what we pictured when we read about [Jeremy]’s Thunder Pack. With four PWM channels at 2.3 A each, why not go nuts? [Jeremy] has already proven the Thunder Pack out by putting it through its paces all week at Burning Man.

Click to embiggen!

After a few iterations, [Jeremy] has landed on the STM32 microcontroller family and is currently working to upgrade to one with enough flash memory to run CircuitPython.

The original version was designed to run on a single 18650 cell, but [Jeremy] now has three boards that support similar but smaller rechargeable cells for projects that don’t need quite as much power.

We love how small and powerful this is, and the dongle hole is a great touch because it opens up options for building it into a wearable. [Jeremy] made a fantastic pinout diagram and has a ton of code examples in the repo. If you want to wade into the waters of wearables, let whimsical wearables wizard [Angela Sheehan] walk you through the waves.

13 thoughts on “Thunder Pack Is A Bolt Of Lightning For Wearables

  1. Neat idea. I’ve got all sorts of uses for those.
    Without seeing the schematic: it looks like the output is limited to battery voltage. It seems that it should be possible to run the micro off the local battery and the actual lights off (say) a 12V pack, so you could use COTS light strips.

    1. Mostly, yes. The output is limited by both the battery capacity and the Mosfets. The FETs (BSS806NH6327XTSA1) are each rated at 2.3A, however, the GPIO opens them to ground, so you could theoretically run a higher voltage through them.

    1. What’s funny is that part of the reason why I used cylindrical batteries in this design is that they’re more rugged for wearables than the silver pouch cells that can explode if bent (i.e. in pockets). I found that heating a short length of shrink tubing around it provided protection from shorting and was a cheap and simple enclosure.

      I’m currently exploring other battery terminals too.

    1. I wanted this platform to be able to go beyond Arduino, if necessary. I could have gone the ATSAMD line of chips, but felt drawn to the STM32 line. Overall, though, getting it to work with Arduino was probably the easiest part of the project. CircuitPython was a bit more difficult.

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